Alumna Carolyn Powell reflects on CalTeach experiences: "I hope to continue the legacy that I took part in at UCI."
Carolyn Powell graduated from the UCI CalTeach Science and Math Program in 2014, receiving her BS in Mathematics and her California Teaching Credential. Carolyn teaches mathematics at Garden Grove High School and serves as Co-Chair of the GGHS Mathematics Department.
August 27, 2017
I grew up locally in Orange County where I attended Garden Grove Unified School District. I had many family members who were educators, so as a child, teaching always generally interested me, but it wasn’t until I reached college that I had an opportunity to grasp how much I would enjoy the teaching profession.
In the fall of 2010, I began my studies at UC Irvine. At the time, I didn’t know that UCI offered a teaching credential program for undergraduates, so I was excited when I discovered it in an involvement fair during my first year there. I decided to enroll in the introductory course and so, in the fall of my sophomore year, I took Introduction to Science and Math Teaching, offered by the CalTeach program.
What I remember most about that course was the time I spent in the field working in a classroom. That was the first time I had entered a class as an adult, as opposed to a student, and I was terrified. I didn’t want to ruin these students’ education and I recall the anxiety and anticipation the nights before teaching my first lessons. I was so nervous that I practiced my lessons with my parents, and even then, I wasn’t sure that I would do well. But, thankfully, I was able to teach my very first classes (though not without mistakes) and learn and grow from those experiences.
The CalTeach program was amazing in this way: I was able to help and teach in grade school classrooms and have hands-on experiences with students from the very first course I took. As I moved on through the program, so did the colleagues in my cohort, and we became a family of teachers who laughed with, cried with, and supported one another. Together, all of us were able to overcome our struggles, helped by the most wonderfully caring advisors and skilled instructors. I’m still in contact with my colleagues and mentors today and always look forward to attending our alumni events.
After graduating from UCI and the CalTeach program, I was fortunate enough to be able to return to Garden Grove Unified School District and serve the community there. I currently teach mathematics at Garden Grove High School and have been honored with opportunities to serve on multiple committees, including the School Site Council and AVID Site Team, and also lead the Mathematics Department as its Co-Chair.
This fall I look forward to pursuing my Master’s Degree and Credential in Educational Administration, and I hope within the next year or so to take on a student teacher from the CalTeach Program and continue the legacy that I took part in at UCI.
CalTeach Co-Director Virginia Panish and Alumna Carolyn Powell at August 15, 2017 CalTeach Alumni Reunion